reclaimed old poem, Old Sarum

Old Sarum


We walked the fort’s green mound edge

Threw our eyes along the Roman roads

And pulled in the cool wind.

And waited to repel attackers.

It would have been easy from this green wall.


The bishop took his Cathedral two miles south

To New Sarurn. I can see the spire clearly this day.

I could almost see them walking down the road

Dragging the stone blocks.


The air is damp and cold.

We are among the first here today.

I wish we could come back in the night

And listen for the ghosts in the night

And stand guard together.

The roads stretch out to the horizon,


Thin lines stretched tight.

Pulling the forts together,

Stone beads on a frail string.



from A Quiet Perfect Year



reclaimed old Poem, Mariposa Festival 1990

I was finally getting down to trudging through some old paper files in one of my filing cabinets, the allegedly organized one.


At Mariposa 1990


Murray McLaughlin walked down the path

towards the American Airlines tent

the camera crew followed

his barn coat, his baseball cap,

and his cowboy boots,

not necessarily in that order


and Murray walked slowly down

the music was slipping

out from under the tent roof

and the rain had stopped


I watched the music move over the grass

and the crowd was drying out inside and outside


the fur covered boom microphone

looked like a strange country’s flag


and it hung above Murray

like a fur halo once removed.



Poem: Office Storm

based on a real incident

Office Storm

People stood watching over the cubicle walls

Nervous and startled and lifted

from the tedium of scribing NorTel documentation.

Three Security guards led him

through our rat maze

for the elevator and out of the building for help.

His nervous breakdown blossomed

from two days of muttering at his desk

past full volume yelling this morning and

Papers from his desk hurled up

Like spume hitting the shore rocks

and trying to fly

Jealous of the gulls,

wanting to be the sky,

hating the ocean,

losing, falling back in step.

I remembered his eyes

as we had passed

in the narrow hallways

of the cubicle maze.

All at once looking at me,

looking through me,

afraid of me,

then hating me,

then looking down to the grey industrial carpet

that would never wear out.

I recalled the women who worked near him retreated,

afraid to be victimized in his firestorm.

The manager trying to settle him

suddenly become a factor of zero.

The rage felt good.

That fire just warmed his heart.

The next day the manager asked me

to take over the man’s project assignment.

Three strikes: short deadline,

no work done, and an unfamiliar writing system.

I quit and went home

wondering where he was

and what manufactured calm

they had injected.

What had happened to his sputtering rage.

All the way gone.

All the way escaped.


Poem: The Blue Heron Stands

The Blue Heron Stands

The blue heron stands in the shallow water.

Studying dusk, knowing

the separation of air and water

like two distrusting kingdoms.

He wills the end of all motion

and the trees obey…the clouds pause.

Only the channel marker blinks.

I stand behind glass and wall

but cannot wait long enough to see

this blue question mark ask me

how I might fly.

Old poem: “Cycling”


The bike store woman customer wore black shorts

And a yellow fleece jacket and had legs

That were not supermodel constructed

But could ride forever.

Health shone out of her like a herd

Of 1K lights without gels.

Her eyes were fifty five.

She needed nothing from me.

My legs were tired from driving the car

Twelve blocks from the house.  Will I ever learn to

Stop treating my temple like a body.

I bought bungee cords for my old bags

To drag up and down hill, the old glacier lake edge hill,

My kamikaze mission to commute to work on two wheels.

She passed me in the aisle, her hair was a plain light gold

And I tried to remember where I had seen that colour before and

If I had a bell on my old bike I could cannibalize

To beat the cops and a ticket.

Why do these questions keep rolling into my head

What ifs and maybes, possibilities and trajectories

Simple suspicions of physical joy, where do they come

Even as the great wipeouts of past rides and falls

Rush back like the latest breaking news on CNN

Once you learn how to ride a bicycle

You never forget.

Poem – Earth and Heaven

Earth and Heaven

In the morning,
early, the wind gifts the lilac scent.
I open my car door. I am going to dialysis.

I take a long moment,
breathing deeply
and I know there will be lilacs in heaven.

There will be a long, sandy beach,
warm air, blue waves washing everything,
my dogs must follow me in. We will swim all day.

Poem – Cottage Sunday – April 6th 2014

Cottage Sunday – April 6th 2014

i pull into the driveway.
turn off the engine
open the driver’s door
and listen to the snow melt drips
then a chickadee.
i step out and turn
look at where the snow and ice
embraced the cement driveway
i turn and look up to our roof
the snow cover remnant hangs on
near the eavestrough
i watch the whirlybird roof vent spin in the sun
our long, hard winter seems like a bad dream
a small voltage nightmare
now its time for the trees to wake up
i walk over and take hold
to shake the cedar from sleep
“hey, i planted you when i was eighteen.”
the cedar wall yawns and stretches
a wide green grin
“hey kid, you’re looking like an old man,
what happened?”


poem – The Storms This Winter

The Storms This Winter


DSC_9109The storms this winter make me afraid

Like I have never feared before.

It seems to be too much for me.

I have grown suddenly old.

Trudging across the tundra

that was my summer grass and my warm sunshine,

destroyed and determined to freeze me to death.

Control of car and control of feet and balance.

These are the questions that poke at me.

My fingers aching inside my gloves from the cold.

My nose hurting after a minute outside.

Wondering seriously if my circulation decline

Is going to net me actual frostbite, something

I thought was just for a Jack London short story.

I only see cars out, frosted exhaust plumes rising,

no people walking.

And one mad woman jogger at 6:25am on a morning

With -30 degrees Celsius to convince her lungs that fire

Was a relative state of sensation,

that black clothing with no reflector tape

Was the perfect chance to end it all

and get run over by an old man

Blinking through his mostly defrosted

attempt at a windshield.

Very late in life to become a killer, so he manages to slide past without

Felony consequence.

Then I see the night nurses walking fast to their cars.

At the hospital parking lot

When I arrive for dialysis

Having outpaced the snow ploughs

a couple of mornings per week.

Winter rolls slowly forward

like the trunk of a snowman

Accumulating weight and momentum,

thickening like slush turning

To frozen worry. The smallest attempts

become a full day’s load of effort.

sony nex f3 20131208 023e

Poem – Old Arrow

like an old arrow through my eye

I think of you



and turn it into a kid’s arrow

with a rubber suction cup tip


place it on my forehead

spit coated to stick and hold

as if I could hold you now


you’re in motion somewhere else

colliding and laughing

Poem – In Your Garden

In Your Garden


I never dreamed that laying sod

would be a memory to keep.

You gave me that.


I stood and watched you

marking the edge of flowerbeds,


ringing trees, the future

blooming in your head.

Your eyes painting colours


on the damp brown earth.

I lifted the rolled sod


onto the wheel barrow

and brought them to you.

Lifted them out, put them


where I thought

you would need them, judging

by the lines of union two rows back.


You told me not to roll them out.

That was your job.


I watched you tugging the heavy green

matching the seams – tightening

the pieces of your new, green,


outdoor floor.  The hard rain held off,

the light drizzle misting the ground, the sod, and us.


I watched you working

on your hands and knees.

You were wearing a brown


and green rain shell of mine,

the sleeves rolled up inside.


The colour of it

matching the uncovered soil and the sod.

Your hands were earth brown.